MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - There are more than 100,000 people in Shelby County who can't read. For more than 40 years, Literacy Mid-South has been trying to change that.
Former truck driver Charles Rais is spending his retirement years learning how to read. He spent years keeping his secret of illiteracy by following lines on a map book.
"I went to places and found places that the guys who could read couldn't find," said Rais.
Literacy Mid-South has 500 people in its free reading program every year, but they need more volunteers to help.
"We have about 250 volunteers right now we probably need 75 more this year alone just to teach people to read just to meet the need," said Kevin Dean.
Ashley Bonds has been a reading volunteer for three years, a two-hour, one-day-a-week commitment for at least six months.
"Let's work on site reading and then fast forward six months and suddenly he's able to take the lead on that. He takes a lot of pride in that, and it's exciting for me to see that for him," said Bonds.
The upcoming volunteer orientation is full, but there are openings in March and April to equip volunteers with step by step lesson instruction.
"We as Memphis are trying to grow and we we're not going to be able to grow if we have a work force of 120,000 people who can't read," said Dean. "So we've got to make sure these people learn how to read quickly."
For more information on volunteering and training sessions, click here: http://www.literacymidsouth.org/get-involved/tutoring/.